Of all the people at risk of stroke due to atrial fibrillation, or AFib, around 40 percent refuse to take or cannot take blood thinner medications such as Warfarin for one reason or another. It may be the frequent blood testing required, or the dietary restrictions placed on Warfarin patients, but for many AFib sufferers, blood thinners such as these are simply not an option.
Boston Scientific has released the new Watchman device for stroke risk reduction. Rather than submitting to a daily regimen of medication, patients can now have this device installed in the left atrial appendage (LAA). This device reduces the risk of stroke, as well as chemical intervention, by preventing blood clots from migrating from the LAA into the patient’s bloodstream. Once in place, it physically cuts off the LAA from the rest of the heart. It is a completely mechanical solution to a problem that, to this point, had been dealt with by using powerful drugs that affected a patient’s quality of life.
If you have AFib and are at risk for a stroke, the Watchman device may be recommended for your treatment. Only you and your EP Doctor can make the final decision, but there are some ways to tell if the Watchman is a possibility for your treatment:
- If blood thinners such as Warfarin and Coumadin interact poorly with other medications you are currently taking
- If it’s difficult or impossible for you and your cardiologist to get your blood levels to stay steady on medication
- If the dietary restrictions necessary on blood thinners are something you’re not willing to follow
- If you are relatively young and are facing decades of blood thinner use
Dr. Dilip Mathew is an experienced EP Doctor who can answer any questions you may have about the new Watchman device for AFib patients. If you have any questions, call our office today to make an appointment.